Anadolu Efes Istanbul continued its climb up the standings by dominating last-place Khimki Moscow Region for a 99-60 home win on Thursday.
With its third win in the last four games, Efes raised its record to 11-9 as it continues knocking at the door of the top eight playoff places. Khimki lost its 11th straight to drop to 2-18. Sertac Sanli came off the bench to lead Efes with a career-high 19 points, 17 of them in a second half that the hosts won by 47-24. Shane Larkin followed with 15 points, while Bugrahan Tuncer and Bryant Dunston scored 12 each. Khimki got 14 points from Jordan Mickey, 13 from Alexey Shved and 10 from Devin Booker.
Larkin's first triple marked a 7-0 Efes start until Sergey Karasev scored Khimki's first basket and then matched James Anderson's put-back with a steal-and-layup combo. Larkin and Shved traded triples at 12-8, then Moerman and Booker joined the scoring. Larkin stayed hot from deep then stole and finished to make it 19-10. Shved scored 4 points before Evgeny Voronov beat the first-quarter buzzer with a triple to cut the difference to 26-19. Mickey's swooping dunk led to back-to-back triples from Shved as Khimki quickly drew within 28-26. McCollum blasted a corner triple at 30-29 that Dunston answered with a dunk and a steal that Dogus Balbay finished. Thus steadied, Efes moved ahead again 40-32 on triples by Burgrahan Tuncer and Moerman. After Mickey and Tuncer exchanged baskets, Larkin converted a three-point and Dunston drove to make it 47-37. Rodrigue Beaubois added a lane jumper before Dunston measured off a rare three-pointer to beat the buzzer for a 52-26 Efes lead at the half.
Micic stuck a triple and fed Sertac Sanli to open the second half by raising the lead to 57-36. Sergey Monia's three-pointer stopped the bleeding for Khimki but Efes kept rolling to a 66-39 lead on a dunk by Balbay and back-to-back baskets by Sanli, who added an assist and another jumper to make it 75-44 after 30 minutes. Tuncer scored 5 points and fed Sanli and Anderson to keep the Efes lead safe at 84-50 early in the final quarter. Efes was content to trade baskets, and Sanli and Tuncer were happy to oblige, as time dwindled in what was a long-determined outcome in favor of the hosts.
Record home win
The 39-point final difference was the biggest home win and second-widest margin of victory overall for Efes in its 459 games to date in 20 EuroLeague seasons this century. It was far, however, from the club-record 51-point difference that Efes recorded on the road against Olympiacos Piraeus back on December 9, 2004. That game ranks fourth and is the biggest win by a road team ever. Thursday's Efes win was the second-widest margin of victory this season after FC Barcelona's 97-55 win over Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul back in Round 8.
Khimki came as close as 29-28 in the second quarter, but after that, it was all Efes as the hosts scored at least 23 points in all four quarters and held the visitors to a high of 19 in the first. The final difference, combined with the 77-105 pasting that Efes put on Khimki in Moscow earlier in the season, gave Efes the sweep of their series by an average margin of 33.5 points.
After Efes went up by 16 points at the half, two bench players took over. Sertac Sanli scored a career-high 19 points on 8-for-10 two-point shooting while making his sole three-point try. Bugrahan Tuncer netted his personal best of 12 points to go with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Sanli scored 17 of his points after intermission while Tuncer had 7 of his in the fourth quarter.
Efes based the victory on rebounds, too, pulling a season-high 41 boards while holding Khimki to just 26. The difference on the offensive glass was 12 to 6. Adrien Moerman and Rodrigue Beaubois led the effort with 6 rebounds each.
Efes looks for its fourth win in a row when it visits Zenit St Petersburg in Round 21 next Friday, January 21. On the same night, Khimki will try to break its losing streak on the floor of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.